Two Turtle Beach headsets sit on a desk: the black 500 Stealth and the white 600 Stealth. The retail boxes sit behind them.

The Turtle Beach Stealth 500 Gen 3 and Stealth 600 Gen 3 headsets have been designed with casual and hardcore gamers in mind. Both models earn top marks in audio levels, comfort, design, and overall value. The latest revision of Turtle Beaches’ mid range gaming headset line has seen significant upgrades over last year’s 600 and 700 Gen 2 models.

If you are looking for great performance and value in a headset that will give you an advantage over your opponent, the Stealth 500 and 600 Gen 3 models have a lot to offer. I tested both headsets across multiple platforms, including the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, PC, and mobile, with great results. I’ll break down the features and performance of each headset, as well as highlight key differences to help you decide which is right for you.

Stealth 500 or 600 Gen 3 headset?

The first question you might ask is which model to go with: the 500 or the 600? The short answer is you really can’t go wrong with either. Both offer a great balance of gaming-centric features at budget-friendly price points.

  • Turtle Beach Stealth 500: This gaming headset is more affordable, yet it still includes great features like 40mm audio drivers, 2.4 GHz wireless plus, Bluetooth connection, 40-hour battery life, and an ultra-lightweight design.
  • Turtle Beach Stealth 600: The Stealth 600 offers a step up in many performance areas over the 500. The 600 has bigger 50mm audio drivers, a whopping 80 hours of battery life, AI-based noise reduction for clearer chat, and more sound customization options via Turtle Beach’s proprietary “Swarm II” app.

Bottom line, if budget is a key factor, the 500 might be the way to go. If you want the best cost-to-feature ratio, I’d recommend the Stealth 600. Let’s dive further into each model’s performance and features.

The Turtle Beach Stealth 500 headsets sit on a black desk surface unboxed with a paper manual next to it, a usb transmitter and a USB cable.

Unboxing and setting up the Stealth 500 and 600 headsets

Both models require very little setup to get up and running out of the box. Turtle Beach recommends downloading their app, “Swarm II”, to install the latest software updates. It’s available on iOS, Android, and a desktop version on PC. I downloaded the app to my iPhone, connected the USB hub, paired the headphones, and updated each in about 10 minutes apiece. I had to re-pair them a few times over for the initial update, but that is the only minor issue I ran into with setup.

Two Turtle Beach USB transmitters sit on a desk.

In the box, you receive the headphones, a USB transmitter, a USB-A to C cable, and a quick start guide. You’ll want to keep that cable handy for both headsets as it acts as your main charging source.

A key difference between the 500 and 600’s USB transmitter is the 600’s has a switch that lets you pick between “Xbox and USB.” The ability to flip this switch opens more platform options for the 600 but this is absent on the 500. I’ll touch upon the compatibility differences more later in the review.

Two Turtle Beach headsets sit flat on a desk: the black 500 Stealth and the white 600 Stealth.

Stealth 500 and 600 Gen 3 headset design

The Stealth 500 and 600 both feel and sound great, but they have some new design changes from the older models. The first thing I noticed about the headsets is their more mature, elegant look. Some gaming headsets offer a lot of bright, loud colours and flashing LEDs, but the 500 and 600 look more like a pair of high-end headphones. Even the microphone arm folds neatly into the earcups for a sleeker look on the go. The design also has fewer sharp edges than the previous model, which have been replaced with smoother contours. Overall, both headsets have the looks and performance to replace your gaming and “on-the-go” headphones.

Ear cups and headbands

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 headsets sit on a desk the white plastic headband facing toward the viewer.

A key difference between each of the headset’s designs is their approach to their ear cups and headbands. The 500 has an adjustable “floating headband” that lets you re-slot points for smaller, medium (default), or larger heads. I have a larger head and found the headband out of the box was a great fit. The Stealth 500 also has pleather memory foam cushions, forgoing the knitted fabric material from previous iterations, which is a welcome change in my books. The Stealth 600 has an adjustable “lay flat” design with ear cups that feature an athletic weave fabric. Both designs feel great to wear, but I worry about the thinner plastic on the Stealth 500 long-term. Overall, the 600 feels a lot sturdier, and the ear cups “breathe” better with longer play sessions.

Onboard control hub

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 headset sit on a desk with one earcup zoomed in on to get a better view of all the controls on the ear cup.

Both models feature “on-board” headset controls on the back of the left earcup, offering the ability to make quick audio adjustments on the fly. The set of controls is the same on both models: there is a power button, EQ mode button, USB C-port, Bluetooth multi-function button, master volume, and chat audio mixer. Both models also sport a flip-down mic arm for chatting that mutes when you flip it back into the earcup.

Stealth 500 and 600 platform compatibility

The “Xbox models” of the 500 and 600 I tested came with a USB wireless transmitter that offers a great range of compatibility with various devices. Both models have wireless 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth, making connecting to a wider range of platforms easier. The key difference between the 500 and the 600 is the 600 offers a much bigger array of devices with its USB transmitter toggle options between Xbox and a wider range of devices with a USB-A input. Your mileage may vary, but I could easily connect the Stealth 600 to the Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, mobile platforms, and a selection of Bluetooth devices.

Stealth 500 and 600 gaming audio performance

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 50mm audio driver is open and exposed.

When it comes to audio driver performance, bigger is better, and the 600 has a clear advantage in this area. The Stealth 500 model sports 40mm drivers, whereas the 600 has 50mm, offering a deeper, fuller sound. That’s not to say the Stealth 500 has a bad sound profile, it’s quite the opposite. It produces a balanced sound signature with a great frequency response range. It picks up on many smaller sound details in FPS games like footsteps and distant gunfire, but it sounds “flatter” than the performance from the 600. Overall, the flat sound profile of the 500 could benefit from more dynamic audio with deeper bass and clearer highs.

The Stealth 600’s 50mm drivers deliver a richer and more immersive sound with crisp highs, detailed mids, and punchy lows. Playing the same FPS games I did with the 500, the difference is clear; the overall sound profile is much more diverse. Along with the game, you also sound better with strong mic noise cancellation. Considering its price point, the 600 offers a well-rounded sound that helped to enhance my gaming experience.

Boxes of Stealth 500 and Stealth 600 Gen 3 gaming headset

Final thoughts on the Turtle Beach Stealth 500 and 600 Gen 3 headsets

The Turtle Beach Stealth 500 Gen 3 and Stealth 600 Gen 3 headsets stand out as great choices for gamers looking for performance and value. The Stealth 500 is an excellent entry-level option, providing a solid audio experience with 40mm drivers and a lightweight, comfortable design. The Stealth 600 elevates the gaming audio experience with its larger 50mm drivers and advanced features like AI-based noise reduction and incredible 80-hour battery life. Both models are well-suited for a variety of gaming platforms and offer a great level of comfort. Whether you choose the Stealth 500 or 600, you’ll be pleased with the performance and value Turtle Beach offers.

Be sure to check out Best Buy Canada’s full line of gaming headsets, both in-store and online.

Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux.


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